Dog dies after being left in 'hot car for four hours as owner shopped'

WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: A woman has been charged with animal cruelty after her pet dog died when she allegedly left it in a hot car for hours while she went shopping.

Crystal Marie Houk was in tears when she returned to her car in Florida to find her pit bull mix dead inside.

US TV outlet abc3 reported police were called to the scene in a Walmart carpark on Friday (local time) after a store employee opened the car door to find the dead dog inside.

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Witness Shelia Anderson Kennedy filmed the incident with her mobile phone.

In the six-minute long video Ms Houk can be seen hysterically crying, surrounded by police officers as her dog lies lifeless on the backseat floor of the car.

Ms Houk allegedly told police she left the air-conditioning on, but the Walmart employee who found the pet said there was hot air blowing when he opened the door.

Crystal Marie Houk in tears (left) as she spoke to police, who arrested her (right), when her dog was found dead inside of her car.
Crystal Marie Houk was in tears when she returned to her car after four hours of shopping to find her pit bull mix dead inside. Source: Facebook/ Shelia Anderson Kennedy

Ms Houk claimed she had been in the store for a short time but, according to abc3, the store’s CCTV shows she didn’t return to her car for almost four hours.

After police handcuff and arrest Ms Houk, animal control employees remove the dog’s body from the vehicle.

“This is what happens when you are not responsible for your pets,” Ms Kennedy can be heard saying as she films.

Authorities remove the dead dog from Crystal Marie Houk's car.
The lifeless pet can be seen in the backseat as Crystal Marie Houk is arrested for animal cruelty. Source: Facebook/ Shelia Anderson Kennedy

According to the report, the temperature that day was about 31C, but it ‘felt more’ like 37C.

"You've got a closed door and you've got hot air blowing on an animal like that, and ultimately this is what happens,” County Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said.

The officer said the dog’s temperature was so high the thermometer couldn’t register it as it only read up to 41C.

"Animal control tried to take the temperature of the animal itself, and found that the temperature of the animal pegged out the thermometer," Mr Simmons said.

Ms Houk has been released on bail, but will face court on September 12.

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